Being an Interpretive Assistant next to a Fiery Beacon

Being an Interpretive Assistant next to a Fiery Beacon

“Of all the fire mountains which, like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest.” ~ John Muir

Marmot on Steven Canyon Road
Rampart Ridge Trail
Sunset from Paradise Corridor

Hello everyone!! Over these last three weeks, I have had Interpretive training and getting to know all the different departments and what they do in the Park. This still has not deterred me from exploring and having amazing adventures in the Park. Each time there is a clear day and I get to see the mountain in the sun I feel very fortunate and blessed to be a Mosaics Intern here at Mt. Rainier National Park. I also can not wait to start my main focus and responsibilities and to also represent the Mt. Rainier Interpretive staff the best I can. 

This season my main responsibilities will be doing Plaza Programs and Guided Walks for visitors. I have been developing a Plaza Program during my training, which is expected to be a 20-30-minute talk, on Bull Trout. Why Bull Trout? These fish are native to Mt. Rainier National Park but they are a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Mount Rainier has about 470 mapped rivers and streams inside the park but Bull Trout are only found in a handful of places. Bull Trout have lost about 40% of their historical range due to human interaction and their need for clean aquatic ecosystems. Bull Trout thrive in extremely cold water temperatures, they also favor complex riparian ecosystems with downed trees in the river that create shade and hiding places for Bull Trout as well as cooling water temperatures. Connected ecosystems are essential to healthy Bull Trout populations because they are migratory structures like dams and roads create this blockade for them. Since they require such a habitat they are usually prime indicators of pristine aquatic ecosystems, they are also the apex predator in most waters. While I am giving this program I hope to connect with Visitors on the importance of the native Bull Trout and to shine a light on the shaded areas that Bull Trout love. My essential question that I am trying to answer is can we raise awareness to those less seen in our communities?

Waterfall on Steven Canyon Road

Alongside my Plaza Program, I will also be tasked with doing 1 hour guided hikes starting from the Jackson Visitor Center to the Nisqually Glacier lookout point. My guided hike will be centered around the geology of Mt. Rainier and the 28 named glaciers this park has to offer. Mount Rainier is about a half million years old and has been built up by lava flows that once shaped the glacial landscape. The 28 glaciers that rest and move ever so slowly on Mt. Rainier make it the most glaciated mountain system in the lower 48.  I expect this hike to be one of the highlights of my time here and for the Visitors as well. 

Lake George
Evidence of Nisqually Glacier recession
Beaver on Westside Road

Throughout my time here my goal is to have a positive impact on the Visitor’s experience and to always effectively communicate to them the importance of conserving and preserving this natural wonder and breathtaking National Park. I hope to get out and explore more in the coming weeks and to always appreciate the beauty of the fiery beacon and queen of the Cascades, Mt. Rainier. 

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